Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

73. What We’re Reading, and When You Re-Read a Series

Jane and Sarah discuss what we're currently reading, and whether we're liking it. Then, we answer an email from Elizabeth who asks about re-reading a series and whether it holds up the second time.

Please note: we have a spoilery discussion of Nalini Singh's Heart of Obsidian at about 23:50 – 25:20, so if you haven't read it yet and you want to, you might want to skip that part.


Here are some of the books we discuss in this podcast:

Book Carolyn Crane - Rom Sus - Off the Edge Book raw belle aurora Book The Do Over  MK Schiller

Book The Dom Project - Heloise Belleau and Solace Ames Book The Principle of Desire - Delphine Dryden Book Whitney My Love - Judith McNaught

Book Naked in Death - Book The Duke and I - Julia Quinn Book Heart of Obsidian - Nalini Singh

Book Alpha Omega  - Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs Book Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs


Book After the Storm - Maya Banks

The all-new Maya Banks romantic suspense, After the Storm, is here! Read about the sexy agents of the KGI team that perform jobs the government can’t, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.  

Over the years, Donovan Kelly has fought relentlessly for justice, women and children always holding a special place in his heart. Working side by side with his brothers, Donovan has witnessed firsthand the toll it’s taken—physically, mentally, and emotionally—on his loved ones, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire. What he never expects is for his next mission to happen right on his home turf—or for it to take a very personal turn.

Picturesque Kentucky Lake is the perfect place for a soul in search of safe harbor. A beautiful stranger has arrived—desperate, breathless, and on the run from a dark past closing in on her and the younger siblings she has vowed to protect. Donovan must now draw on every resource at his disposal—if he wants to save a woman and the children who may prove to be his destiny.

Warm yourself up this week with Maya Banks’ steamy new KGI thriller, After the Storm! Pick up your copy wherever books are sold.



The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater. This week’s music is called “Calgary Capers” and it’s by Peatbog Faeries from their CD Dust. You can find them at their website, or at iTunes.

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us at PodcastPickle.

So, what series holds up best for you? Which series wasn't so enjoyable when you went back to it for a second try? Any suggestions? Share share! You can comment, or email us, or call us – we love all of these things. You can email us at (WE LOVE EMAIL! Send us some!!) or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-DBSA.

Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

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  1. 1
    Miranda says:

    I re-read several series over 2013:

    Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris), Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich), Jane Austen mysteries (Stephanie Barron) and Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews).

    I enjoyed all of them, particularly the Sookie Stackhouse. I always liked Harris’ writing style, and the re-reads let me be aware of the evolution of the series.

    The Evanovich was the weakest, I guess. While Stephanie has become a better bounty hunter, and I still enjoy the series, she’s too chronically unable to get the rest of her life in order. She’s a grown-up: she can go grocery shopping.

  2. 2
    Chris Z says:

    One year I read the In Death series 3 times.  I can’t help it.  I love it.  I’m not sure how many times I’ve actually read the earlier part of the series.  For many years, I’d start at one and re-read all of them before a new one came out.

    Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series is another one that I can read repeatedly.  (Granted, it doesn’t take nearly as long as Robb’s!)

    Am I surprised by the endings? Of course not. Am I still entertained by the character development? Yes, a million times yes.

    I’m getting ready to re-read Lilith Saitcrow’s Jill Kismet series, it will be interesting to see if it holds up to a re-read.

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    @Miranda: That’s the most common criticism of the Evanovich series that I’ve seen: Stephanie doesn’t grow or change. She’s static: things happen to her, and she stays pretty much the same.

  4. 4
    Roxy says:

    I love rereading Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster books and have reread some of the books I have til they are falling apart.  (I need a good deal on an ebook box set!)  And I still have my Christine Feehan vampire and psy books, but those I can barely get a reread through.  I also love re-reading Robin D. Owens Heart- series, starting with Heartmate.

  5. 5
    Victoria says:

    Have to agree with you about Nalini Singh.  The Angel and Psy series – just never get tired of these ones.

    Also the Kate Daniel Magic series by Ilona Andrews.

    This was the first time I ever listened to your podcast.  I was thoroughly entertained and I’ll be back.  Really well done.  Thanks.


  6. 6
    vee says:

    I am with Roxy on the Heart Mate series by Robyn Owens.  They are wonderful
    treasures that I reread every year before the new book comes out. 

    I also love J D Robb, and can’t count how many times I have read the series.  I no longer have the time to reread the whole thing before the new book comes out every six months,
    but I generally reread the last two or three to keep me up to date.  The only ones I don’t like are the short stories, they never satisfy me first or second time around.

    Annnnd, my crack is J R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood,  Good, bad or indifferent, I love these books.  As much as I love these, I can’t stand her other Fallen Angel series
    and only read them to get a brother sighting or a piece of the brother’s world since they are both set in the same city.

  7. 7
    vee says:

    Janet Evanovich used to be an autobuy for me, but I stopped about 3 books back and now
    get them from the library.  However the latest, Takedown Twenty was a little better than the latest ones in terms of writing.

    I donated all of my Sherrilyn Kenyon books, used to be another autobuy but I no longer even bother getting them from the library.

  8. 8
    library addict says:

    I have reread the In Death series multiple times. Like Chris Z, I used to reread every book before the next entry. So I’ve reread Naked in Death well over 20 times. But because I have reread it and the early books so often, I don’t feel the disconnect the original commenter felt. I also agree we’re supposed to think Roarke was capable of being a suspect.

    Even though there is a sameness to them I also enjoyed rereading the Arcane Society series by Jayne Ann Krentz (and as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle).

    The only other long term series I’ve reread fairly recently was Christine Feehan’s GhostWalkers. I enjoyed the second book (which I had thought I didn’t like) much more the second time I read it. I do think she allowed herself to get bogged down in specifics which haven’t stood the test of time (there’s a big to do about how the villain is able to break the security on the Windows XP operating system in one of the books). But with the exception of the second book, I still liked the characters I liked the first time around and disliked the characters I disliked.

    I am a big rereader to begin with though. I usually pick one author to reread throughout the year in between reading new and new-to-me books. I do think whether or not you reread regularly in general affects how you feel rereading a long term series.

    I am looking forward to rereading Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. I read them all for the first time last year, so it will probably be later this year or next before I reread them.

    But Sarah has made me afraid now to go back and reread the Bridgerton books. I discovered Julia Quinn fairly early on in her career (before the first Bridgerton was released). While she used to be a must read author, I haven’t felt compelled to read her lately. I have the last two Smythe-Smith books in my TBR pile still. It’s not just JQ though, I’ve felt pretty burned out on historicals all together for the past several years.

    I have high hopes the Kowalskis series by Shannon Stacey will stand up well in rereads. I have reread parts of the early books, but not a total reread.

    Other long term series were much more hit-or-miss for me. For example, Julia Miller’s The Precinct, Merline Lovelace’s Code Name: Danger, and Cindy Gerard’s Bodyguards/Black Ops Inc. So while I have/may go back and reread old favorites from the series and highlights of the books I didn’t like (for the scenes with the characters I did like), I don’t think I would invest the time to do an entire series reread.

  9. 9
    cleo says:

    Listening to this made me realize that I don’t usually reread entire series, but I will reread single books from a series.

    I did reread Anne McCaffrey’s first 6 Pern books recently, after 20 some years and they didn’t completely hold up – there was a lot of misogyny and slut shaming that I completely missed as a teen. (And I had NO IDEA about those blue and green riders, although it was quite obvious to me this time).

  10. 10
    Janhavi says:

    I love to re read books. Nalini singh’s psy changeling series I reread each year before the new book and sometimes twice a year, same with guild hunters. My other annual rereads are Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series and Robin Owens.s Celta series.

    Incidentally I think Robin Owens is very underrated! Glad to see some fans above.

  11. 11
    roserita says:

    It used to be that when I was home sick I would pick an author and read (or reread) all of their books.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing; you have to be careful about who you pick.  I once read The collected novels of Dashiell Hammett and The Raymond Chandler reader during a bout of the flu, and I haven’t read any hard-boiled mysteries since, and that was probably forty years ago!  That said, I’ve found that Georgette Heyer is a good sickbed read, and although I’m feeling fine right now, the weather is sufficiently crappy that I feel like holing up with somebody’s complete oeuvre—and what’s this?  I hear Dorothy L. Sayers calling me.  Excuse me.  I have a date with Lord Peter.

  12. 12
    sandyl says:

    I have also read the J.D. Robb series over and over. However, it is the earlier books that I enjoy the most. Sarah is right that a lot of the names, events, and dialogue become repetitive.

    I can’t read Julia Quinn. Her writing style, all snappy dialogue, gives me a headache.

    Other series that have survived multiple readings and are now comfort books: the Kate Daniels series, Mercy Thompson, Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January mysteries, and Lindsey Davis’s Didius Falco mysteries.

  13. 13
    DonnaMarie says:

    Meljean Brook’s Guardian series is a go to reread for me. They just never cease to amaze and delight me. Then there’s Tara Janzen’s Crazy books, which I love like crazy. Also Linda Howard’s McKenzie books. Someone a couple posts ago mentioned that she didn’t think anyone was reading those any more. Well I am, and I’d take them over anything she’s written in the last decade in a heartbeat. I’m almost afraid to touch a couple of them because they are my original Silhouettes from 1989 through the 90’s. I should probably invest in some reprints.

  14. 14
    Diane says:

    I like to re-read Lois McMaster Bujold, the Miles Verkosigan series and do it about once a year.  Roberta Gellis’s Roselynde and Heiress series.  I re-read the last of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books before the next one comes out.  I’d re-read the entire series but I’d be reading forever and be unable to read anything else.  But considering that the release date keeps slipping I suppose I would’ve had the time.

  15. 15
    MAG says:

    I agree with what Diane said about the Outlander series.  I re-read it a few years ago and timed it so I would be read when the next book came out.  18 months later, I’m thinking I may have to re-read the last book again.  I re-read susan Elizabeth Philips and Rachel Gibson’s series as well as all Charmaine Harris’s series.  Like Vee, the Stephanie Plum’s use to be auto-buys but not any more.  I do re-read the early books.  I’ve re-read Laurel Hamiltonian Anita Blake and her Merideth Gentry series.

  16. 16
    Gloria says:

    The last two episodes will not show up on my iphone. I don’t know if there’s anything you can do on your end. They show up in my itunes on my computer just fine, but I can’t get them to show on my podcast. I’ve tried playing around with the settings, turning subscription off and on etc and nothing seems to work. Help?

  17. 17
    ridiculousspider says:

    My re-reads:

    Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
    Harper Connelly by Charlaine Harris
    The Lily Bard Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse just didn’t hold up for me on a second read)
    The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts (particularly the third one)
    Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King
    Discworld by Pratchett

    My first time re-reading Stephanie Plum I enjoyed them more than the first time I read the series.  Now, not so much.  The books have a certain formula that makes them less fun and more predictable.  Which wouldn’t be so bad if Stephanie grew as a character and also if she would just make a freaking decision between Ranger and Morelli.  Or just dump both of them.  At this point I think they would be better off without her.  /rant

    I also have stand alone books I love to re-read.  That list would be long.  Lol.

  18. 18
    P says:

    For me the series are:
    1.Kate Daniels
    3.Shelly Laurenstons dragons and shifters
    4.Charley Davidson
    I prefer really strong heroines and im very picky about that.

  19. 19

    I used to reread Rebecca and Frenchman’s Creek, both by Daphne du Maurier, every year like clockwork in the dark December/January time frame. I often reread it while home for the holidays. Talk about symbolic – rereading gothic romances ensconced in your childhood room, then returning to your sunny adult life in your own apartment when you finished. I think I read them 8 or 9 times, but I haven’t read either in a decade. Maybe I should again.

    In the nineties I reread the early Amanda Quick Regencies – Ravished, Scandal, Surrender, etc—whenever I was sick in bed. They were just happy books. Still have my first edition paperbacks, but they’re really, really yellowed.

    Neither of those were really series, b/c no recurring characters, but both the DDM and the AQ books fit in tone as if they were a series, I guess.

    I read the JULIAN KESTREL series by KATE ROSS pretty regularly (except for the music one, that one didn’t work for me).

    And Sarah Caudwell’s barrister “Hilary Tamar” series. Those are largely epistolary and I read them when I want to make my brain stretch into long sentences. Sort of like boot camp for the brain, without having to actually read NON-fiction. I have to pace that series though b/c otherwise I’d speak to my children in a fakey British accent and they’d disown me.

  20. 20
    Artemiz says:

    Jane and Sarah, what where the names of those two books – the parody and the comatose patient? Tried to find the Tussle me and Wake me in Goodreads, but no luck :(.

  21. 21
    DeeCee says:

    Every spring I reread the Mercy series but I can’t redo the A&O series so much. I remember the plot points too well and it makes the book drag. Ditto for the Kate Daniels books.

    I just tried a reread of the Psy/Changeling books in preparation of Tangle of Need and Heart of Obsidian which I finally got around to and I remember them differently. They are still fantastic books that are very well written but I find myself a little let down because the magic wasn’t there for me again (probably because I glommed them so much for so many years).

    That’s the same problem I had with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books right up to Acheron. I reread them all religiously before a new arrival and just couldn’t do it past that one book I’d been waiting for (for Singh is was Hawk and Sienna’s book). I tried to reread Night Pleasures awhile back and I just couldn’t get lost in the world of Simi and Ash…Bummed me out.

    I don’t know what it is about PNR for me but I find the rereads aren’t the same as when it’s UF. I think why I’ve embraced UF a bit more in these later years is that there is a plot in each book but it’s part of an overall BIG story that remains a mystery. Like the Fever series by Moning…loved the books as I read them. Each year I would reread each and then fly through the new one, but when Shadowfever came out and it ended the major mystery of who had killed Mac’s sister I just could not reread them. And now Dani is getting a series and I can’t read those either but they were some of my favorite books.


  22. 22
    cat says:

    I generally do not like to sign up to read a series of books. It’s nice when I discover what are essentially stand-alone books that revisit characters from previous books but I don’t think I can think of 5 series that I’ve read in their entirety, especially if we’re only talking about romances. I would say a little mini-series that doesn’t hold up for me is the Lake/March romances (Slightly Shady, Don’t Look Back, and Late for the Wedding). I’ve kind of soured on Amanda Quick in general (especially after discovering writers like Lisa Kleypas). I always saw the pattern in her books but I no longer find it that compelling.

    This is only sort of related to this topic but when I discover a story I like, I of course want to read a bunch of other books from that author. It is a great disappointment when I get a hold of another book and I realize that I’m largely reading the same story or recycled parts of the first story which has happened quite a few times. The worst thing is when the hero or heroine has a line of dialogue during an important moment that is lifted from another book. I just picked up some Diane Gaston books from the library. Oddly enough, I’m actually disappointed that these stories are not like the other ones I’ve read from her because I don’t enjoy them as much.

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